Can we please retire the nickname “Bo-Mel”? Please?
I can’t believe a veteran like John Olerud fell for the old “fake to third, throw to first” pickoff move tonight. Give Hudson credit, though — it was a very good fake, ten times better than the lazy one Jeff Nelson uses all the time. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Olerud moves as if he were stuck in concrete.
Also, I’ll give Carlos Guillen a B+ for his acting job when he pretended to get hit on the foot by a Hudson pitch that wound up all the way at the backstop. To Guillen’s credit, he started hopping around almost immediately, though the replay made it pretty clear that the ball hadn’t hit him. The only reason I didn’t give this performance an “A” is because the homeplate ump didn’t buy it enough to send Guillen to first base.
Hudson pitched really, really well tonight. Everything was hard, moving and down. Garcia wasn’t great, but certainly pitched well enough to win on most nights. This is a really easy one to second-guess, but I have to question the decision to pitch Carrara in a one-run game when Nelson hasn’t pitched in three days. Ditto Mateo. The real problem here, though, is that they still don’t have that second lefty to bring in to face Durazo in the 8th when the game is more or less on the line.
Finally, John Mabry’s at-bat in the 8th was about the worst pinch-hitting appearance you could ever hope to see: strike looking, strike swinging, strike swinging. Just ugly.
Not a huge deal to lose that one, especially with Hudson pitching for Oakland. Tomorrow the M’s get a chance to beat up on John Halama, and a win means taking three of four from the A’s. I’ll take that every time out, thank you very much.
Considering Craig Anderson’s fastball hardly ever gets above 83, its not that surprising that he’d spend an entire start in the 70’s. He really wasn’t very good last year, but that was hidden by Woolf Stadium and some pretty solid defense. His curveball has good movement, but he’s not really cut out for being a LOOGY. In 29 innings vs lefties last year, he walked 21 and struck out just 12. Hard to believe he pitched in the Futures Game just a few years ago, or that he was considered the better of the two prospects when the M’s brought him and Snelling from down under.
I have a second-hand report that in a recent start for Tacoma, minor league LHP Craig Anderson didn’t break 79 on the radar gun. Anderson survived AA last year despite below-average stuff, but his ratios weren’t very good… he has probably hit the wall after being able to fool hitters in the low minors early in his career. It’s only two starts, but he has been hit VERY hard so far at AAA this season. I wonder if the M’s might be best served grooming him as a short reliever, since that’s probably the only way he has a major league career given his assortment of pitches.
Oh, and good luck to Derek, who’s lucky enough to have press credentials for tonight’s game. Knock ’em dead Crazy D!
The Bay Area papers say that Rincon told Peterson his arm was dead and needed to come out of the game. Bradford seems like a pretty good choice against Martinez, Olerud, and Cameron, though. Foulke probably makes the most sense, since he’s capable of going more than one inning and those were the best hitters the M’s would send up the rest of the game. No matter who else the options were, though, Micah Bowie should have been at the bottom of the list.
If Colbrunn’s going to pinch-hit for someone in that situation, it should probably be Cirillo and not Davis. Pinch-hitting for Davis gives you no backup for Wilson if the game goes to extra innings, and you’d probably rather have Davis get the AB than Cirillo anyways. Losing Cirillo’s glove, especially with a lead late in the game, is a concern, but Bloomquist could field the position for a few innings without killing you.
Regardless, Melvin simply has to find Colbrunn more at-bats. He’s somewhere between our 3rd and 5th best hitter and he’s 14th in at-bats.
I don’t know what Macha was doing bringing in Bowie in that situation. Rincon had only faced four batters on just 16 pitches, so he probably could have stayed in for Edgar and then Olerud if they really wanted a lefty to face “Big Rude” (where did that nickname come from, by the way?). In terms of right-handers, Chad Bradford, Mike Neu and Keith Foulke all should have been available for the A’s, and any of them probably would have been a better bet against Edgar in that situation.
The other move I was wondering about — this one on the M’s side — came in the same inning. Runners on first and second, nobody out, up 5-3 and Cirillo at the plate with Ben Davis on deck. Cirillo has been awful this season. Why not have him bunt the runners to second and third? I know, I know, you’re giving away an out. But it also puts two runners in scoring position and gives you a chance to put the game away. I then would have let Colbrunn hit for Davis. If they bring in a right-hander, fine, Colbrunn hits them too. I don’t like the money they’re paying Colbrunn, and I hate that they’re giving up a draft pick this June. But as long as he’s here, you might as well use him. He can hit, after all. As Derek said last night, “Why is he on the roster if they’re not going to use him?”
Don’t read too much into that 18-11 shootout in San Antonio. The wind was blowing out at 40 miles per hour and they had dirt devils swirling all over the field. Considering the circumstances, Johnson pitched pretty well.
Just three of Jose Lopez’s sixteen hits are for extra bases so far. Thats not a good sign. On the positive side, he’s still making good contact, even if he isn’t walking much. I still think he’s going to end the year with a line that looks something close to .280/.320/.350 and he’ll be labeled a big disappointment. The expectations are simply too high for a 19-year-old in AA, particularly in Woolf Stadium. As long as he’s not totally overmatched, I’ll call it a successful season.
Speaking of totally overmatched, Michael Garciaparra got the second game of the doubleheader off last night as his average has fallen to a robust .138. He’s 4-29 to start the year, following a 5-31 (15 K) performance in the Northwest League last year. He barely held his own in the Arizona League last year, and he’s been downright miserable against any kind of quality breaking ball. He’s got a long ways to go.
Today’s starting pitchers:
Wisconsin: Juan Sandoval (formerly Luis Espinal)
San Bernardino: Troy Cate
San Antonio: Bobby Madritsch
Tacoma: Ken Cloude
Minor League Highlights for Super Tuesday, April 15
Tacoma 3, Tucson 1. RHPs Rafael Soriano and JJ Putz combined on a two-hitter, enabling the Rainiers to win despite having only five hits themselves. Soriano worked the first six innings (2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) to pick up his second win of the season, while Putz worked the final three in impressive fashion (0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) to pick up his first save. The game was played in just two hours and eleven minutes.
San Antonio 18, El Paso 11. The Missions won a slugfest by scoring nine runs over the game’s final three innings, including a six-run top of the seventh. 2B Jose Lopez — who yesterday I said was off to a slow start — had four hits in seven trips to raise his average to .286. LF Jamie Bubela also added four hits, while 1B AJ Zapp and DH John Lindsey each had three. Even scoring 18 runs, the Missions left 14 runners on base. RHP Rett Johnson was hit hard (5 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 BB) but picked up the win. Of the ten pitchers who appeared in the game, only San Antonio’s Enmanuel Ulloa (1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) did not allow a run.
Lancaster 7, Inland Empire 2. RHP Emiliano Fruto was roughed up in his second start of the season, lasting just four innings (6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). Fruto is a good prospect, but very young for the California League — he’ll turn 19 in June — and growing pains like this are to be expected. LHP Ryan Ketchner struck out six in three innings of relief and 2B Evel Bastida-Martinez and RF Shin-soo Choo each had two hits, including a triple for Choo.
Beloit 4, Wisconsin 3 (DH Game 1). The Timber Rattlers will play a number of double-headers this year to make up for all the games they missed due to bad weather at the start of the season. The first game was an extra innings afair, with Beloit scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth (remember, these games are seven innings). LHP Oscar Delgado (1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) took the loss in relief of starter LHP Beau Hintz (5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). Offensively, Wisconsin was led by CF Gary Harris, who tripled, homered and scored two runs. 2B Tim Merritt and LF Carlos Arroyo added two hits apiece.
Beloit 5, Wisconsin 3 (DH Game 2). Wisconsin dropped the second game as well, despite two more hits from CF Gary Harris to raise his season line to a robust .333/.381/.641 and 1B Jon Nelson’s second homer of the season. Nelson, who was out of baseball for two years while serving on his Mormon mission, led the Northwest League in homers last season while playing at Everett. He has considerable power but struggles with his plate discipline. LHP Cesar Jimenez, a young Venezuelan with a great changeup, started and took the loss for the Timber Rattlers (4 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K).
I fell asleep the inning before this occurred, so maybe one of you can enlighten me. Tied at 3, 8th inning, team needs a win, Edgar Martinez strolling to the plate, and Ken Macha summons left-handed career scrub Micah Bowie? I’ll take it, but that’s a really strange move.